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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 28 No. 1, p. 243-249
    Received: Jan 21, 1998

    * Corresponding author(s): mcd135@psu.edu
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Growth of Woolgrass in Acid Mine Drainage

  1. Michael Demchik * and
  2. Keith Garbutt
  1. L and and Water Resources Building, The Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA 16802;
    D ep. of Biology, P.O. Box 6057, West Virginia Univ., Morgantown, WV 26506-6057.



Acid mine drainage (AMD) has impacted more than 3200 km (2000 miles) of streams in West Virginia. Constructed wetlands have been used for passive AMD treatment since the early 1980s, and plant growth studies in constructed wetlands are scarce. Two populations of woolgrass [Scirpus cyperinus (L.) Kunth], a bulrush species common in naturally present AMD wetlands, were investigated to determine population level differences in aboveground and belowground growth response to AMD. Differences at the level of population were found in aboveground parameters. One population had significantly greater aboveground growth than the other population during portions of the growing season when growing in AMD, suggesting greater ability to grow in AMD wetlands. Differences at the level of population were also found for root growth; however, the root growth response to AMD was not different between populations. Treatment with AMD slightly increased aboveground growth but reduced belowground growth. This suggests a potential for differential allocation to different growth components under AMD treatment. These results suggest there is a potential for selecting genotypes of woolgrass for increased performance in the presence of AMD.

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